Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Once a week I travel down to my trainer in Washington state (just under two hours away) to take a reining lesson and see how my Abby mare is doing. I have really benefited from the lessons and have noticed a marked improvement in my riding. I plan to continue to take reining lessons and showing next year. My focus over the past 5 years has been on reining and while for most of that period I was unable to actually ride or show at it, I spent many hours developing an understanding of the principles of the sport, what judges look for, the breeding and recognizing the proper execution of maneuvers. My education level in the sport still does not match my ability to actually ride it, but I am getting closer and closer to being able to do what I have been visualizing for years. I am very serious about reining and trust my trainer to guide me to where I want to go. She has the style that I want to master and is an excellent instructor. My only problem is the distance that separates us. I want to start picking up a few lesson a week here at home but do not want to confuse the styles and methods of one reining instructor from the next. So, I have been contemplating taking some english dressage lessons. My focus and goals are based on improving my equitation. I have always wanted to take lessons on dressage because it deals with the same objectives as reining; body control, impulsion, collection and form.

I am concerned that riding in two different disciplines, with such different styles of equitation will actually set me back in both. But then I wonder if the fact that they are SO different will actually make it easier to separate the two styles.

I thought I would put it out there and see what you had to say. Do you think it is possible to learn two different disciplines at the same time? Without having one inhibit your ability to master the other?


  1. Hello! I have been 'lurking in the weeds' if you will for some time now and thoroughly enjoy your posts. You have actually somewhat inspired me to start my own 'blog'. (still new to the term....)

    ANYways, this post perked my interest as I too am a multi-discipline rider. I'm not sure where abouts you are located, I can only assume on the southern end of BC based on your previouse posts, and travelling to see you training. But I ride with a trainer in the lower mainland that teaches multiple disciplines, excelling in reining, and dressage. She could be an option for you if close enough.

    I don't think you would be taking steps back in either discipline as the two are actually loosely connected at the same time as being completaly independant. They are both 'control' disciplines. Reining relies heavily on your body control, as does dressage. I think if anything its better to move from Reining to dressage as reining is such a low contact sport. I would have a harder time going from Dressage to Reining as i'd likely always be on the reiners mouth! which would just throw it in reverse, or in some horses cases, upside down! JMO on the topic but it only hurts to diversify when the rider isn't capable. And you sound very capable. Anyways, just my two bits. And if you want some contact info just let me know ;P

  2. I can't offer any advice, but I just wanted to say I think it's great that you have such horse related ambitions and goals and are actively seeking to educate your self in achieving them.

    Kudos to you! I look forward to seeing some exciting and interesting posts from you in the future :)


  3. I am all for it. I think anything a person can to that will increase your riding time, in a constructive and goal oriented way, can only improve you. Proper equitation is proper equitation, with a few minor differences.

    I am seriously wanting to spend a little time with a local barrel racer, who is PRCA. I have some things I want to work out and pictures and videos of myself have only helped so much. I need a reining trainer to get me past the beginner level, I need someone who knows what to look for to help me finish out my pleasure horse. I need to go spend an afternoon a week with a roper, so I can get better at heeling and breakaway. I would love to be able to take some dressage lessons. Really, the list of things I would like to learn or get better at are endless. But I have never noticed that one discipline interferes with another as long as you keep the perspective of what is essential for each discipline.

  4. Natarojo: That's interesting that you mentioned that -my trainer, who specializes in Western Pleasure, but had his start in reining, always says that the dressage people don't like us because we can make our horses do everything their horses can do on a loose rein.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with learning two disciplines, but be sure your other trainer is aware of it - so like my trainer works with me in both english and western and he can spot when i am "riding a little to hunter" while I am practicing western pleasure.

    And remember that the ques can be different for the same things - so you don't want to get them mixed up. Under pressure out in the ring you don't want your mind reverting to dressage while you are a little late on on small collected lope circle.

    Can you stick to low level stuff? Or maybe having someone just work over your equitation and communication with your horse as one would preparing with a Hunter/Jumper - only you don't have to actually jump? You get all the balance and practice with maneuvers as you'd want...lead changes, collection, seat and balance would all be very usable towards your reining work...

    So I am all being confusing on you I'm sorry - while I don't think there is anything "wrong" with it, I wouldn't do it myself, because I would get confused they are both extremely technical disciplines...

  5. Which trainer are you with again? You come down here? To Washington land??

  6. Stephanie: I suppose every trainer has there bias or not so bias opinions. I've lucked out in the fact that my trainer dos a little of everything and is fairly well versed in it all as well. And if we come across something she isn't prepared to tackle she always referes me to someone who is. I would sooner envy a reiner then hate them for the team horse and rider have become. In escense they become one. As so do dressage combos. Just in different ways. Reining and Dressage are just one of those things that are so very similar in some aspects, but completaly different in others. It all comes down to how open you are to suggestion. There are no right or wrong answers, but the ones the work best for YOU and YOUR horse.

  7. Thanks for all of your input. I think that you all actually have some very valid points, it just comes down to your own goals and objectives. I have to say, for myself, I agree with Stephanie. I am not trying to become a jack of all trades, I am still working on being king (or Queen I should say) of one (well, I am a long way from "Queen" of anything but I do have a long term goals and aspire to do well in reining...perhaps to the hight of Queen...thou shall not limit ones self!)

    I also agree with BECG because she already has a really strong foundation and is just looking to..diversify and finish what is already there. When I get to that point, I DO want to learn a little more about different sports (like knitting (seriously) lol.

    Everyone else has great points that apply to different people. I think that I might try to just sneak in another lesson with my trainer...dont tell DB (I need to cook him something really yummy before asking! lol)

  8. Hey...I say go for it, as long as like Stephanie already mentioned, you can keep the cues for one discipline from getting mixed up with the cues from another. We don't want you doing a Piaffe during a reing exhibition...lol!!!

  9. I am jealous you can take lessons! What a great way to keep growing and learning.
    I think there can be benefits from learning two disciplines. You can use the knowledge and skills from each to build on and reflect on as you ride. I think it will take a little extra homework. I would recommend keeping a journal to keep track of your lessons, goals, thoughts, what you want to practice, key things the trainers said, etc. Then you can keep it all straight when you ride in between.